Coffee or no coffee? An exploration of America’s morning beverage
Tuesday, December 01, 2020
In the United States, over 150 million people drink coffee every day with the average consumption being three cups per day. That’s approximately 450 million cups per day!
We love our coffee. In fact, it is rare to go anywhere these days — even in the smallest towns — without running into some kind of coffee shop, many of them serving freshly ground coffee and espresso. With that level of popularity, it’s a given that coffee is embedded into our lives.
But, is this a good thing?
According to Medical News Today, “Coffee contains a number of useful nutrients, including riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), magnesium, potassium, and various phenolic compounds, or antioxidants. An article on the Harvard School of Health website states, “consumption of 3 to 5 standard cups of coffee daily has been consistently associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases.” While this is good news for coffee lovers, it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy for everyone. In fact, for some people, the heart-racing, insomnia-inducing side effects of the caffeine in coffee make it a health hazard.
Of course, that can be rectified by drinking decaf, but this removes one of the primary reasons people drink coffee: alertness and focus. The proliferation of caffeinated energy drinks on grocery store shelves clearly point to our collective desire to use energy-boosting substances.
Like anything else that offers us a quick fix, there are some downsides to drinking coffee, some of which impact one’s health. Therefore, the decision to drink coffee or not, is an individual choice. Perhaps it might help to have a pros and cons list.
- Lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Lowers the risk of lower risk of liver cancer
- Lowers the risk of type-2 diabetes
- Decreases risk of oral cancer
- Decreases risk of suicide
- Can interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium
- Can affect your blood pressure
- Can cause or aggravate heartburn
- Can give you a headache
- Can increase anxiety
These are only partial lists of some of the benefits and risks of drinking coffee. There are many websites online that have extensive data which can help you make an informed choice.
Ideally, the best way to know whether or not you should drink coffee is to pay attention to how it makes you feel. If you love the taste but don’t like the jitters, you can always reduce the amount of caffeine by mixing in some decaf with your morning cup.
Another thing to factor in when deciding whether or not to drink coffee is to make sure you’re drinking coffee made from a healthy source. Organic beans are ideal. Coffee made from beans that have pesticides in them will drastically reduce or even eliminate its health-giving benefits.
The type of coffee and how it is prepared doesn’t seem to matter too much, with the only exception being instant coffee. Instant coffee simply doesn’t have the same beneficial properties as ground coffee.
Whatever you decide, keep your sense of humor about it.
“It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.” — Dave Barry
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